Del Secretario [...] libri VII. Nel quale si dimostra & insegna il modo di scriver lettere acconciatamente & con arte, in qual si voglia soggetto. Con gli Epitheti che si danno nelle mansioni à tutte le persone cosi di grado, come volgari. Et con molte l
The book is not sold individually, but only as part of the collection ARS EPISTOLICA. To inquire about the price of the entire collection please write to govirarebooks@gmail.com

Del Secretario [...] libri VII. Nel quale si dimostra & insegna il modo di scriver lettere acconciatamente & con arte, in qual si voglia soggetto. Con gli Epitheti che si danno nelle mansioni à tutte le persone cosi di grado, come volgari. Et con molte lettere di Principi, & à Principi scritte, in vari tempi, & in diverse occasioni

Autore: SANSOVINO, Francesco (1521-1583)

Dati tipografici: Venezia Heirs of Vincenzo Valgrisi, 1580


8vo. (16), 222 leaves. †, ††, A-Z, Aa-Ee8 (-Ee7 & Ee8, which are blank). With the printer's device on the title-page. Old vellum over boards, with the printed ex-libris of Christoforus de Arricordis.

Basso, pp. 244-246; Braida, pp. 202; Edit 16, CNCE 39142.

 

FIRST EDITION IN SEVEN BOOKS, the last one published during Sansovino's life.

With Del Secretario, first published at Venice by Rampazzetto in 1564, Sansovino introduced a new type of letter writing manual. In fact it was not only a simple collection of model letters but also a treatise on the role and the duties of a secretary at court. A year later, 1565, the author published the same book at his own press ‘Al segno della Luna'. The work was reprinted eight times during his life span and five times until the end of the century. The initial four ‘books' in the first edition of 1564 were expanded to seven in the present edition and all later editions are reprints of the present one (cf. L. Braida, La norma e la pratica della scrittura epistolare: ‘Del Secretario' di Francesco Sansovino, Venezia, 1564, in: “Bibliologia”, II, 2007, pp. 21-40).

“Sansovino, asimismo, es el primer autor que, de una forma completa, traslada al escenario de las lenguas vernáculas la clasificación de géneros y especies retórico-epistolares auspiciada por Erasmo, una clasificación imprenscindible que habrá de estar presente en innumerables artes e incluso epistolarios volgares posteriores” (P. Martin Baños, El arte epistolar en el Renacimineto europeo, 1400-1600, Bilbao, 2005, p. 460).

“La fortuna dell'opera è probabilmente dovuta oltrecché alle innegabili qualità messe in mostra, alla notevole varietà di proposte che essa offre al lettore: il testo si compone di quattro sezioni distinte (poi cinque, a partire dalla nona edizione, datata 1580): una trattazione sulla figura del segretario e sull'arte di comporre le lettere in generale; completata da formulari (libro I); un'articolata catalogazione dei diversi sottogeneri epistolari e delle varie partizioni in cui si divide ogni singola lettera (libro II); una serie di modelli di lettere che traducono in pratica i precetti precedentemente esposti (libro III); un'antologia di lettere di vari personaggi (libro IV fino all'ottava edizione; libri IV-VI dalla nona); una raccolta di lettere dello stesso autore (libro VII della nona edizione)” (L. Matt, Teoria e prassi nell'epistolografia italiana tra Cinquecento e primo Seicento, Roma, 2005, pp. 22-23).

Among the authors of letters chosen by Sansovino are e.g. Alfonso d'Este, Cesare Borgia, Ferdinand Archduke of Austria, Giulio Cesare Colonna, Jacopo Buoncompagni, Pius V, Enea Pio, Sigismund II Augustus King of Poland, Alberico Cibo, Guidobaldo II della Rovere, Ottavio Farnese, Flavio Orsini, Cosimo and Ferdinando de' Medici. Most of the letters were addressed to Sansovino himself. The whole book VII consists of letters written by Sansovino. At the end of this section (pp. 219-222) is found the noteworthy letter by Sansovino to Giovanni Filippo Magnanini (d. 1598), here printed for the first time, dated from Venice, December 15, 1578.

Magnanini was at the service of Cornelio Bentivoglio, ‘luogotenente generale' of the Estense State and conducted diplomatic missions in France for the Este court. Sansovino presents him as a model of the perfect secretary. This letter is important since it contains Sansovino's autobiography, a brief account of his life stages, progressing from birth, childhood, and youth, with an emphasis on education and study, and a subsequent vocational choice as a man of letters. This is followed by the professional works, his many printed books, of which a selection is listed. His auto-bibliography is divided into three classes: original works, translations, and collections. At the end he includes his chorographic description of Venice, Venezia città nobilissima, first published in 1581, a major accomplishment, noting that it is completely finished, but not yet printed. The letter closes with his persona, that is his person as presented to others as an individual: subjective emotions and personal ‘valore' and ‘virtù' emerge, and Francesco Sansovino becomes a spiritual individual who recognizes himself as such. His is not a thirst for fame and glory, but perhaps an attempt to achieve a modicum of dignity and worth for himself (cf. C. Davis, Individual and Polity in the ‘Vita' of Francesco Sansovino, in: “Fontes. Quellen und Dokumente zur Kunst 1350-1750”, 45, 2010, pp. 1-24).

“Le succès ne se dément pas, puisque, en 1580, le livre paraît une fois encore, mais restructuré (de quatre livres il est passé à sept) et singulièrement augmenté (des 150 feuillets que comptait l'édition de 1575, il est passé à 222 feuillets). L'avant texte s'est enrichi d'une nouvelle version, actualisée de la lettre de dédicace, toujours adressée a Ottaviano Valiero, mais dont la suscription témoigne d'une différence accrue à l'égard du personnage [...] Il est enrichi aussi d'un avis aux lecteurs, dans lequel l'auteur déclare sa volonté d'être utile à son lecteur et donne le plan de l'ouvrage [...] Dans les trois premier livres, Sansovino avait regroupé les lettres qu'il avait précédemment fragmentées en leurs divers parties dans le livre deux. Ce sont des lettres ‘fictives', inventées par Sansovino dans le seul but d'illustrer par l'exemple les règles de la rhétorique épistolaire [...] Comme dans le corps des livres quatre et cinq, aux pages desquels renvoie cette [nouvelle] table, le secrétaire reste dans l'ombre. Tous les épistoliers appartient, à des titres divers, à la sphère du pouvoir. Le contenu des lettres choisies par Sansovino, vient confirmer cette réalité, car l'immense majorité d'entre elles, fût-ce de manière biaisée, traite l'exercice du pouvoir. Il est significatif, en effet, que cette table remplace la ‘Tavola seconda' des quatre éditions précédentes, dans laquelle il n'était question que de genres et de catégories, en un mot: de rhétorique. Cette ultime version de la ‘Tavola seconda', complète les propos rhétoriques qu'elle semble évacuer, mieux, elle le prend dans le réseau aux mailles serrées de la politique [...] Cette nouvelle Table permet aussi à Sansovino de donner force et cohérence à son discours, car elle inclut les épistoliers qu'il vient d'ajouter lors de cette ultime version: soixante-sept lettres, dont quarante-quatre adressées au comte Roberto Boschetto (livre cinquième), douze à lui même (livre sixième) et sept dont il est l'auteur (livre septième)” (M. Blanc-Sanchez, Francesco Sansovino et son ‘Del Secretario', in: “La Lettre, le Secrétaire, Le Lettré. De Venise à la cour d'Henri III”, Filigrana, 6, Grenoble, 2000-2001, I, pp. 53-57).

“L'inquisition espagnole, en tout cas, finit par identifier le Del Secretario comme livre à proscrire. En Italie, en revanche, la fortune éditoriale de ce manuel fut important et durable, de sorte que Sansovino put assurer la transmission d'un petit florilège de pédagogie érasmienne jusqu'au XVIIe siècle. L'exemple du Del Secretario qui cache les emprunts à Érasme derrière des stratégies telles que l'effacement du nom de l'auteur, la traduction en langue vernaculaire, l'interposition de passages venants d'autres sources, montre que le plagiat pouvait se présenter comme l'une des possible réactions de la part des intellectuels de l'époque à l'inquiétante multiplication des Index des livres interdit” (M.C. Panzera, Francesco Sansovino lecteur d'Erasme: le ‘De concribendis epistolis' dans la formation du bon secrétaire, in: “Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance”, LXXIV/1, 2012, pp. 100-101; see also id., Sansovino e l'umanesimo veneziano. La fonte nascosta dei modelli di lettere del ‘Del Secretario', in: “Italianistica”, 2012/1, pp. XXXXXX).

“Gabriel Chappuis a publié une traduction camoufflée en 1588, sur la base de l'édition vénitienne de 1580” (V. Mellinghoff-Bourgerie, Le ‘Secrétaire' de Gabriel Chappuys, face au ‘Del Secretario' de Francesco Sansovino et à ‘The English Secretary' d'Angel Day. Remarques sur l'héritage de l'éthos épistolographique Érasmien, in: “ ‘Il segretario è come un angelo' Trattati, raccolte epistolari, vite paradigmatiche, ovvero come essere un buon segretario nel Rinascimento”, R. Gorris Camos, ed., Fasano, 2008, pp. 63).

 

Francesco Sansovino was born at Rome to the sculptor Jacopo Tatti (Sansovino). In the aftermath of the Sack of Rome, father and son left Rome for Venice. After a youthful study of letters including Greek, Francesco obeyed his father and studied law in Padua, Florence, and Bologna. Unhappy with law he quarrelled with his father and began to write poetry and imaginative vernacular literature in the 1540's. In 1550 Jacopo, still desirous that his son should travel the road to wealth and position, arranged for an appointment at the papal court. But Francesco disliked courtly intrigue and after a brief period returned to Venice. In 1553 he married a Venetian girl of good but non-noble family and settled down to a tranquil life of study and writing.

Francesco Sansovino typifies the figures who moved in the editorial circles of the period. A polygraph author of poetry, prose writings on literature, history and rhetoric, as well as a translator and editor, Sansovino not only compiled, translated, and annotated text for Venetian printers, he even opened his own printing house, publishing around thirty editions, many of good quality, between 1560-62 and in 1568. Especially his historical works were widely read by his contemporaries. His encyclopaedic description of his adopted city, Venetia, città nobilisima et singolare, descritta in XIIII libri (1581), is a useful source for descriptions of churches, works of art, personalities, famous events, and customs of the time. He also wrote a history of the Turks in Europe, Annali Turcheschi (1568), a history of illustrious Italian families Origini e fatti delle famiglie illustri d'Italia (1582), a treatise in seven books on the art of writing letters Il Secretario (1564, see item no. XXX), as well as a book on the government of kingdoms and republics Del governo dei regni e delle republiche (1561). Sansovino also found time for writing literary criticism, including studies of Dante, Petrarch, Ariosto, Bembo, and Sannazaro (cf. E. Bonora, Ricerche su Francesco Sansovino imprenditore librario e letterato, Venezia, 1994, passim).


Del Secretario [...] libri VII. Nel quale si dimostra & insegna il modo di scriver lettere acconciatamente & con arte, in qual si voglia soggetto. Con gli Epitheti che si danno nelle mansioni à tutte le persone cosi di grado, come volgari. Et con molte l